Date of Award

Fall 2006

Project Type


Program or Major

Civil Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Kevin H Gardner


Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are one of the most persistent and toxic pollutants in our environment today. Many rivers and lakes were heavily polluted with PCBs during the 1970s when their use and production was at their highest demand. Today, more than 30 years after they have been banned from production they continue to be one of the top priority contaminants. Their characteristic stability has made them very recalcitrant to physical, chemical and biological degradation. Remediation in soils and sediments are particularly more difficult due to the variability in the soil and sediment characteristics that affect how strongly PCBs are sorbed.

PCBs are one of the top priority contaminants not only because of the large quantities in the environment but their persistence and recalcitrance to degrade. They have been shown to cause many health effects in living organisms and humans, as well as they are considered a suspected carcinogen in humans. Although dredging is a solution it does not solve the problem of destroying the PCBs. The overall goal of this research is to develop an alternative economic remediation solution that actually chemically destroys the PCBs in sediments. (Abstract shortened by UMI.).